Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Christian's journey through Islam

Jonas Yunus*

Brussels - All over the globe, the Muslim community finds itself caught in the middle of strenuous societal debates. With Islamophobia on the rise in the West and extremism in the name of Islam growing in the East -evidenced by sectarian violence in countries like Egypt, Syria and Pakistan - the debate is often presented as a clash between Western values and Islamic fundamentalism. Few people are aware however, how much internal debate is going on within the Muslim community itself. Old ideas are challenged, new groups are forming and all sorts of evolutions take place that do not fit the crude dichotomies of "secular versus religious" or "democracy versus Islam" that politics and the media so often adhere to when discussing current events.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Post Ramadan Lesson: Two Boys Forgo a Royal Feast

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Once upon a time a King went out to hunt on a very warm day in the Fall of 2007. After a few hours he felt very hot and tired, so he decided to stop for lunch. His servants unpacked a large picnic basket they had brought with them and set up a table.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hospitality, Community, and Friendliness

Mollie Griminger*

Originally published in KidSpirit's God issue. In her essay for the Global Beat, Mollie reflected on whether people with different conceptions of God could live together peacefully, using her community as an example.

Armenian church on Akdamar Island hosts first baptism in 98 years

Armenians from Turkey and around the world have descended on Akdamar (Akhtamar in Armenian) Island on Lake Van for an annual Divine Liturgy on the island’s 10th-century church, which was reopened to occasional prayer in 2010 after a hiatus of close to 100 years.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sukkot 2013: The Welcoming, Glorious Jewish Feast of the Tabernacle Explained

The Jewish Feast of the Tabernacle, Sukkot, in 2013 begins at sundown on Wednesday, September 18, and ends at nightfall September 25. The Festival of Booths, as Sukkot is also known, is observed from the 15th to the 21st of the Tishrei in the Jewish year of 5774.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Reflection on the Yom Kippur Liturgy -- Repentance Through Acts of Righteousness

Ron Kromish

As we approach the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which comes at the end of ten very special days called "the days of Awe," I am mindful of how much the liturgy of our special High Holiday prayer book is not simply particularistic. It is not intended for the Jewish People alone -- it is also universalistic, with implications for all human beings, and for us, as Jews, for our relationship with all humanity, not just our own tribe. Moreover, it is also clear that the theme of justice pervades our worship, implying that our concern for fair treatment for all human beings flows directly from the prayers that we recite. In other words, our liturgy requires that we behave as a people whose destiny is inextricably woven with the destiny of all humanity and whose ideal of justice is not merely for ourselves but for everyone.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Diyarbakır church to display Armenian legacy

One of Diyarbakır’s most famous churches, the Armenian church of Surp Giragos, is set to become a city museum hosting artwork and artifacts depicting the Armenian history in the city.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ramadhan and Fasting

Özgür Koca*

Ramadhan, the ninth month of lunar calendar, is a time of joy, generosity, compassion, and breaking bread with others.

At the heart of Islamic belief stands the reality of God, the One, who is at once transcendent and immanent, greater than all we can conceive or imagine yet closer to us than our own consciousness. From the realization that this world is a message from God, a desire flows forth to establish a link between human spirit and God. Religious practices such as fasting, supplications, prayers in its myriad forms, and charity serve precisely to this purpose of relating human spirit and its creator. As such, fasting, although in different forms, exists in almost all religious traditions. Jews practice fasting on Yom Kipur, it is an integral part of Hinduism, Buddhists monks and nuns frequently practice it, many Christian denominations practice it and so on.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rosh Hashanah 2013: The Jewish New Year Explained

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated in 2013 from sundown on Sept. 4 to nightfall on Sept. 6. The Hebrew date for Rosh Hashanah is 1 Tishrei 5773.

Though Rosh Hashanah literally means "head of the year," the holiday actually takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. This is because Rosh Hashanah, one of four new years in the Jewish year, is considered the new year of people, animals and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Francis calls for prayer and fasting for peace in Syria

Thomas Cox

Imploring peace in Syria, Pope Francis Sunday called peace makers around the world to fast and gather for prayer next Saturday, Sept. 7th.

He said prayer services will be conducted in St. Peter’s Square beginning at 7 PM and lasting to midnight.